This year, Sydney will be hosting the extraordinary WorldPride festival, which has been celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community since 2000.
Running from 17 February to 5 March, WorldPride will also incorporate elements of Sydney’s famous Mardi Gras festival, which commemorates its 45th year in 2023.
WorldPride is a colourful and passionate celebration of queerness, open to everyone no matter their identity. With so many amazing events and performances scheduled over the coming months, this list of our top picks is a great place to start if you’re hoping to join in on all the fun.
Mardi Gras Fair Day – 19 Feb
This all day festival will be held at Victoria Park, and is a great way to kick off your Pride celebrations. Free and open to all ages, the fair will include over 200 retail and food stalls, as well as several sample products and a family-friendly picnic area. Old or young, you’re bound to enjoy the live music and performances on offer, including the inaugural Drag King Games, where Drag Kings compete in displays of talent on the main stage.
Queer Art After Hours – 22 Feb
Hosted by the Art Gallery of NSW at the new extended campus, Queer Art After Hours spotlights the incredible talent of Queer artists from across the country. You can immerse yourself in this night-time entertainment with music, performances, installations, and workshops. Plus, stop by the pop-up bar and enjoy a cool drink while you peruse the breathtaking work of these talented artists.
There will also be a queer youth space hosted by the art gallery’s youth collective, perfect for diverse youth hoping to make new friends in a safe and welcoming environment.
Opening Concert – 24 Feb
The official opening concert of WorldPride 2023 is one event that cannot be missed. Hosted by Casey Donovan and Courtney Act, the concert includes the musical talents of stars such as Kylie Minogue and Jessica Mauboy. Whether you choose to bring a picnic rug and relax on the lawn, or get up close with reserved seating, it’s guaranteed to be a loud, vibrant, and exciting night.
Food, drinks, and pre-show entertainment will also be on offer – so grab your ticket now.
Mardi Gras Parade – 25 Feb
One of the most anticipated events of the year, the Mardi Gras Parade is a colourful, festive celebration of pride and self-expression, bursting with over 12,500 marchers and 200 floats. Due to the effects of Covid, this is the first time since 2020 that the parade can return to its home in Oxford Street, and it’s set to be the biggest event of WorldPride. With so many stellar locations to watch the parade pass, and after-parties planned all across town, it’s going to be a big, bright night to remember. Get dressed up and ready to party with thousands of other diverse Australians brought together for this wonderful night.
Sydney WorldPride Human Rights Conference – 1 March to 3 March
The WorldPride Human Rights Conference will make history this year as the largest ever meeting of activists and officials focused on LGBTQIA+ rights in the Southern Hemisphere. Held at Sydney’s International Convention Centre, this three day conference includes a program of panels, speeches, roundtables, and workshops aimed at creating an inclusive and equal future for all.
Panellists and speakers will be sharing diverse stories and personal experiences, initiating talks with government and corporate officials to provoke real world change. The conference is a chance to shape a safe and free world, run by people who aspire for acceptance.
Blak & Deadly – 2 March
Blak & Deadly is a two hour concert celebrating LGBTQIA+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Held in the Sydney Opera House, it will feature the talents of Jessica Mauboy, Electric Fields, Casey Donovan, and more, paying tribute to our country’s past and present through traditional song, pop, and ballroom performances.
Blak & Deadly is a ticketed event, one which acknowledges the importance of First Nations Voices in this story of Australian queerness.
Where to stay
Stay at the Best Western Plus Camperdown Suites for an easy 15 minute walk to and from Victoria Park. Conveniently located near trendy cafes, bars, and restaurants, the hotel is also only a stone’s throw away from major locations such as Newtown and Sydney’s city centre, meaning you’ll be able to access all that WorldPride has to offer before seeking some peace and quiet in the comfort of Best Western.
To have Oxford Street right at your fingertips, stay at the Best Western Plus Stellar Hotel in Surry Hills. Situated on the corner of Oxford Street, a prime location for many queer events year-round, this four star hotel includes 38 guestrooms, as well as complimentary wifi and easy access to so many iconic Sydney attractions.
For anyone hoping to sit in on the panels and talks at the UN Conference, staying at Aiden by Best Western in Darling Harbour means you’ll only be a few minutes away from all the action. The elegantly remodelled 1930s building is the perfect home away from home, providing bespoke interiors and a wonderful cocktail lounge.
These are only some of the exciting events on offer this WorldPride, with so much more to explore across the city.
For more things to do while you’re in Sydney, click here.